PURPOSE: To evaluate histopathological alterations triggered by brain death and associated trauma on different solid organs in rats. METHODS: Male Wistar rats (n=37) were anesthetized with isoflurane, intubated and mechanically ventilated. A trepanation was performed and a balloon catheter inserted into intracraninal cavity and rapidly inflated with saline to induce brain death. After induction, rats were monitored for 30, 180, and 360 min for hemodynamic parameters and exsanguinated from abdominal aorta. Heart, lung, liver, and kidney were removed and fixed in paraffin to evaluation of histological alterations (H&E). Sham-operated rats were trepanned only and used as control group. RESULTS: Brain dead rats showed a hemodynamic instability with hypertensive episode in the first minute after the induction followed by hypotension for approximately 1 h. Histological analyses showed that brain death induces vascular congestion in heart (p<0.05), and lung (p<0.05); lung alveolar edema (p=0.001), kidney tubular edema (p<0.05); and leukocyte infiltration in liver (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Brain death induces hemodynamic instability associated with vascular changes in solid organs and compromises most severely the lungs. However, brain death associated trauma triggers important pathophysiological alterations in these organs.
Brain Death; Craniocerebral Trauma; Pathology; Rats